Defensive Prospect from Illinois Fights On

Although he had plans to visit Michigan State and was invited to their camp, his injury has kept him from traveling as extensively as he would have liked. As a defensive athlete prospect with good speed, Merritt should be hearing from more programs like the Green and White as his senior season unfolds.

Spencer Merritt has been having one of those lazy summers, but not because that's what he wanted.

"It's been going pretty slow. In between doing school camps for my own team and healing my hamstring, I haven't been doing anything for recruiting wise, like going to camps or anything. I just went to my first camp in like a month and a half at Northwestern," Merritt said.

Although he wanted to participate fully, Merritt limited himself to drills and had to forgo the 40-yard dash.

"(Northwestern) coach MacPherson, he saw that I wasn't really comfortable doing it, so he said, you know, just do whatever you can. The drills and everything went well, but as far as the 40, I just didn't want to stress it too far because I'm just kind of getting over my hamstring injury . . . but I feel I did well."

Although he had plans to visit Michigan State and was invited to their camp, his injury has kept him from traveling as extensively as he would have liked. As a defensive athlete prospect with good speed, Merritt should be hearing from more programs like the Green and White as his senior season unfolds.

And he'll be encouraging programs to take a closer look as he compiles game tape early in his senior season.

"I'm going to send out as much tape as I can," Merritt said.

Although he has been substantially limited by his injury this summer, he has accomplished at least one goal. Going into the summer, putting on weight was a priority.

"I'm about 195 right now (up from 183). I'm just trying to get good muscle weight on. I don't want to put on too much weight and get slow or anything like that, so a lean 195 is pretty good, and I'll keep getting bigger hopefully," Merritt said.

As for the next level, Merritt projects more as a secondary prospect than as a linebacker.

"I really like safety, and I played there all my life until high school. I like safety a little better, but I have no problem playing linebacker," Merritt said.

When it comes to the safety position, Merritt says he enjoys being back away from the line, reading plays as they develop. He also likes to get his nose dirty stuffing the run.

"I think my strength is coming up for run support. I'm good against the pass too, but mainly I like being the extra guy for the run support. I'm a good open-field tackler," Merritt said. "I like running around, making big hits."


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